Other stories filed under Lifestyle
Other stories filed under Student Life
February 9, 2016
As iPhones and other smartphones pop into the hands of almost every American, industries are becoming more and more creative with how they plug new temptations for buyers.
Businesses over the years have gradually moved to online representations, but more recently, markets have seen a spike in the usage of third party apps such as AliExpress, Wanelo, Poshmark, Wheretoget and Spylight. These apps not only contract the sellers represented through them for profit, but it brings more attention to the individual businesses, and poses an easy solution for fitting shopping into a cramped schedule.
Junior Mikayla Gilles explained, “It is useful [shopping with an app] for high school students, because with their already busy schedule, they can online shop as a way to relax or to get things done in a shorter amount of time.”
E-Commerce Grows Rapidly
Online shopping has expanded to almost every store owning a website. Since 2010, the amount of e-commerce shoppers in the U.S. has grown from 172.3 million to 206.2 million, and is estimated to grow another 8.9 million by 2018.
Gilles described,”I do think it will hurt stores if they don’t have an online website. Most of their sales do occur in stores but many people like to receive their things and order their things at home without having to leave. I think it would weaken business.”
Set aside from the most popular third party websites such as Amazon or eBay, many new third party apps, separate from websites, have emerged onto the app store and are making finding that one specific item that much easier.
Junior Summer Langness explained, “I prefer apps over websites because apps have a login which also stays logged in, so you can keep track of all of the things that you order. For instance, I bought myself a charging case on AliExpress and my boyfriend really liked it, so I was easily able to go back into the app and look at my past order to order another one for him.”
Apps Find Unconventional Ways to Help Consumers
Apps such as AliExpress, Poshmark, Spylight, Wanelo, and Wheretoget are some of the most common apps that are innovating not only how high school students shop, but anyone looking to discover new items through others’ accounts. This way, consumers are able to search for a shirt that was seen being worn on a celebrity with an undisclosed brand, or find items of clothing that would have otherwise not been discovered in stores.
Among all the apps she uses, Langness added, “I use Wanelo because they have a lot of cool little gadgets that are super useful.”
Wanelo, a website and app launched in 2012 by executive entrepreneur Deena Varshavskaya, adds a unique twist to the typical shopping app. The app, made simple, allows consumers to view what is trending across the board, what items the accounts they follow either post or repost, and what items are in their circle or are similar to what they like. The founder, Varshavskaya, claims it was frustrating to discover new and unique items in mainstream stores, and strove to innovate on an existing platform, creating a social element for online shopping made simple.
“Wanelo looks at what clothes you have previously bought and liked and specializes the browsing section to items that would most appeal to you,” Gilles added.
Another emerging app among the shopping community is Spylight. Spylight is an app that builds cyber-closets for the most popular movies, celebrities, TV shows and YouTube personalities. Spylight provides consumers with an exact matches to pieces of clothing seen on celebrities and TV personalities, and if too expensive, they provide similar matches as well.
Aly Moore, COO and cofounder of Spylight said, “Unlike businesses in the industry, we partner directly with the studios. They have recognized that we create new monetization and engagement platforms at zero risk to the studios. We’ve been able to create a win-win-win experience: studios can increase engagement & open revenue streams (they get commissions); fans can now explore the closets of their favorite stars; and brands now get recognition for being featured in entertainment. Right now we are most excited about the opportunities we’re offering brands to sponsor the digital closets of popular TV shows and movies.”
Each app, developed on a different idea, allows consumers to get optimal shopping experience.
“I think lots of people might have had this idea in the past. I first became acquainted with it when my co-founder, Casper, developed a small obsession with Zac Efron’s wardrobe. He was watching the movie “Charlie St. Cloud” with Zac Efron and saw he was wearing all these cool T-shirts that he decided he had to own. Being shopping-uneducated, he couldn’t find the shirts. Months later, he stumbled upon one of the T-shirts at American Apparel. That’s when the idea of “you can buy what you see on TV” jumped into his head. He was a senior at Yale University at the time, so he recruited some of his friends there to build a prototype of the service. We then flew to Los Angeles to pitch the project to Hollywood studios,” Moore added.
Students Find Apps Tempting
For most high school students, apps are a source of entertainment; allowing browsing, and shopping, for smaller items. But this element to the app poses a dangerous threat to wallets, and a huge gain for the industry.
“Apps do make it easier to spend unnecessary money, because people will often find themselves online shopping if they are bored at home or need some time to relax,” explained Gilles.
But not everything is immediately bought from an app, added junior Savannah Townsend,”[My friends use] Wanelo and Pinterest, they use them almost every day to browse and then eventually buy when they get money.”
Altogether, the apps emerging for consumers ease of use not only promote better business on both the third party end and the direct sellers end, but they expose consumers to new products that would have otherwise not been discovered. Apps are a growing trend, but have yet to serve the same usefulness that websites do, but with an expected growth of 8.9 million in e-commerce consumers, the future of shopping apps are bound to see updates.
“Apps are a lot more simple than websites because everything is compressed to fit on a phone screen, so it doesn’t take as long to find what you’re looking for,” stated Langness.